January 19, 2018 / 10:35 AM / 9 months ago

China targets cryptocurrencies in online pyramid scheme crackdown

(Reuters) - China will crack down on online pyramid schemes, including speculation masked as cryptocurrencies and online games, the public security ministry said on Friday.

An attendant holds a bitcoin sign during the opening of Hong Kong's first bitcoin retail store February 28, 2014. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

The ministry will act jointly with the industrial and commercial department to stamp out pyramid-type schemes, besides punishing those who swindle students and vulnerable groups, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Chinese regulators have moved to rein in financial risks associated with virtual currency trades and pyramid schemes.

A court this month sentenced two people to life imprisonment for fraud in a pyramid scheme involving 15.6 billion yuan ($2.44 billion) that sucked in more than 200,000 people.

Reporting by Hong Kong newsroom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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